Author Archives: Rustique Art

Judges 4; Acts 8; Jeremiah 17; Mark 3

It’s close 12:00 am and my nose is still stuck in a book. I know that I should be asleep, my eyes say “last page”, my mind say’s “just one more page”.  Typically I’m in bed and deep into my slumber by this time of night.  I had told myself that I would no longer stay up so late, it’s just not good for me and diminishes any hope of experiencing any productive thoughts the next day. But I was drawn into the text, another few pages and I would turn out the light.

There was a divine plan in my eagerness to devour this book and stay up past my bedtime, I just didn’t know it yet.

As if the day goes on forever, a child comes waltzing in and begins a long discussion about something. I only hear half of what is said as I try to read and nod my head at just the right times so I look as if I was absorbing every word.  Right on cue; I say what every mother says to her child at the midnight hour; “shouldn’t you be getting to bed soon.”  Of course I’m concerned about the child’s needed sleep, but I was really more concerned about finishing the chapter. Shame on me.  With my bedside vacant once more, I snuggle up and return to my book.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?   Jeremiah 17:9

A page turns and minutes have passed, I feel a presence coming close to me, a quite step, a hushed word…Mom, can we talk?  The momma bear in me is awakened, no other words are needed, I rise up and quietly escort my child from my room so that Dad is not disturbed.  Two steps into the next room…child turns to me with a tearful confession that “they feel so far from God”. My heart breaks and what can only be accredited to divine wisdom, I respond; “honey, God’s not far from you”.  For twenty minutes a sweet little soul is cleansed with what seemed like a mountain of confessions.  I’m listening now with all of my heart. But as I listen all I can do is praise God for this amazing gifts He has given me.  The gift of this child, being a mother, answering this call of need, loving the opportunity be a vessel for my child to fill with confessions.  I give each one to God and hold my child and pray. This night my heart is filled with joy as my child’s heart is cleansed of deceit and opened to receive God’s divine grace.

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind”, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.  Jeremiah 17:10

As the Lord examines my child’s heart and  mind, I realize that the recent conduct that was confessed will not reap great rewards.  However, with God’s amazing love He can restore my child’s heart.  With God’s Word, the mind will be renewed.  In the dark we stand embraced and I reassure my child that God will bring peace and heal the wounds of sin.  I am humbled and honored to be a mother, I am lifted and encouraged by God’s faithful promises.

Heavenly Father thank you for trusting me with your child, for giving me the gift of motherhood, for the wisdom you placed in my heart, for holding my tongue when my child needed me to listen, for opening my heart to receive, for giving me discernment, patience and unconditional love, and for directing my child to come and talk to me. Father God I pray for those who don’t know you or have chosen not raise their children in your Word. Father, in your Son’s name I pray that you stir their hearts, to pull them into your ways so their children learn about you in their home, giving them a safe haven to share their heart, confess their sins and receive  your forgiveness. Amen

Cindi

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Joshua 9; Psalm140,141; Jerimiah 3; Matthew 17

O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me.

Hear my voice when I call to you.

May my prayer be set before you like incense;

may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice,

Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord;

Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil,

to take part in wicked deeds

with men who are evildoers;

let me not eat of their delicacies.

Psalm 141:1-4

I’ve not ever thought about how many words I speak in a day, I do however know that I type several words per day.  Whether coming from the lips or from the hands, words are powerful tools, and if the heart is not in a right place,  words become weapons of mass destruction.  Last time I checked their were no government agencies or the military coming into our homes to check for WMD’s, however if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a verbal attack or the center of someones gossip session, then you might not think this as farfetched as it sounds.  Can’t you just imagine how that would play out.  One day there’s a knock at your door and you are told that someone has turn you in, your crime; using words as weapons and you were now considered a threat to others.  Sounds like a bad movie doesn’t it?

As bad as it is to be talked about or viciously spewed upon by an inconsiderate verbal tyrant, I dare say it would be worse to be the one who is guilty of spreading malicious gossip or humiliating  someone in public.  I confess I am one to say snippy remarks while driving down the road, someone cuts me off or does something stupid while operating a vehicle, these things are often overheard by my teens who are riding in the car with me.  Of course I was not aware of how bad I sounded until I rode in the car with my teenage son and he was driving.  Of course I gently reminded him to be kind behind the wheel and he gently reminded me that he’s heard worse from me.  Hummm…oh the joys of be convicted by your children.

So praying to God to set a guard over my mouth seems quite logical to me.  To watch over the door of my lips…I know it’s wrong to add words to the Bible but I really think David should have added; “and grasp thy tongue with your finger tips”.  Oh well…that does get covered in the book of James.  In fact not only should I recite this Psalm every morning, I should have it tattooed on the inside of my eyelids.

Daily I witness hundreds of people writing words on social media sites and leaving comments on blogs; sometimes those words are not kind, sometimes those words are just plain ugly and I wonder, do those people know that other people can see what they write, not only that but what they write on the internet stays there forever?  Kind of like those cave man drawings…yeah, imagine that.  Your words might still be there for all to read centuries from now.

Let my heart not be drawn into what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evil doers.   So you think  that would mean the next time your circle of friends start to gossip you;  a) join in;  b) keep quite; or  c) gently rebuke and change the subject.  Let me not eat of their delicacies. If this is hard to follow through with, let me share the wisdom I always gave my children…If your talking about someone who is not there and the things being said would not be said face to face; then it’s gossip.  And, if you participate or allow it most likely you will end up with mud on your face, because the person being talked about will always find out,  usually they are told by one of the very same people who was knee deep in the gossip themselves.  Funny how that works.  Secondly, those people you are with will talk about you as soon as you’re not around, so you best find new friends.

Of course Thumper’s mama in the movie Bambie had the best advice of all; “If you don’t have anything nice to say; don’t say nothin at all!”

For me; I also have to remember that thoughts are words from my heart and thinking it is no different that saying it…would you not agree?   So, my prayer every morning in addition to the Psalm;

Father prepare my heart for this day, soften my heart so that it’s tender and kind.  Protect my thoughts and let my words be kind and encouraging to all.  Give me wisdom and courage to stand firm.  Let my words and actions glorify you. Amen

Cindi

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Deuteronomy 28:20-68; Psalm 119:25-48; Isaiah 55; Matthew 3

 As the rain and the snow
   come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
   without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11

Have you ever wondered if anyone listens to you when you talk with them about your faith or ask them questions to open a discussion about their beliefs?   Have you attempted to share the gospel with a friend only to find your confidence waning, or you suddenly find yourself fearful of any questions that might arise?  In the verses of Isaiah, God tells us that “the words will go out of his mouth”, through us His word is spread, he has a purpose and that it will be accomplished, therefore we should find confidence in that He has prepared our words and has blessed that time so that seeds will be planted.  We might not ever see the fruit from the seed but we can take joy in knowing that we were part of His purpose.

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 3:1-2

I look at John the Baptist and see that his obedience and faith send him out into the wilderness, preaching and warning people to repent.

People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan.  Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Matthew 3:5-6

Just as God had promised; John the Baptist saw that God word would not return empty results. We should not concern ourselves with what others will think of us but instead concern ourselves with sharing God’s word with others so that they might have the opportunity to experience God grace and know Christ.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. Matthew 3:7-9

Salvation is indeed a gift, but one to be shared, not to be hidden away in your closet or to sit on a shelf and admire from time to time.  It should be worn and displayed in every aspect of ones life.  In fact I pray often that my faith would ooze from me as if overflowing onto others around me…what some might call contagious faith.  There was a time that I was  guilty of thinking that I was safe from God’s wrath because I had repented, accepted Christ, taken hold of God’s grace and taken comfort in His promise, but was I producing fruit?  Did I look at certain people and think they didn’t need to hear about God? or that they wouldn’t listen because they preferred to live out their fleshly desires? or maybe they already professed a faith, but it wasn’t following Christ.

I believed the lies;  “They won’t listen” “…They will laugh at me” “…They already have a faith, not following Christ but they seem happy”…or this one; “they’re too far gone”.

God forgive me.

I have seen and read that God has used and will continue to use any to glorify His name and if I was too proud in my salvation then perhaps I would miss out on the biggest gift of all…growing God’s kingdom.

My prayer would be as written in Psalms;

Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
                            Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.

Direct me in the path of your commands,
   for there I find delight.
 Turn my heart toward your statutes
   and not toward selfish gain.
 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
   preserve my life according to your word.
 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
   so that you may be feared.
 Take away the disgrace I dread,
   for your laws are good.
How I long for your precepts!
                            In your righteousness preserve my life.                            

May your unfailing love come to me, LORD,
   your salvation, according to your promise;
then I can answer anyone who taunts me,
   for I trust in your word.
 Never take your word of truth from my mouth,
   for I have put my hope in your laws. Psalm 119:33-43

Cindi

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Numbers 35; Psalms 79; Isaiah 27; 1 John 5

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21

This is my new favorite verse.  I like the verses that pack a punch with the least amount of words.

While in the car traveling from point A to point B sometimes I travel in silence. No radio. Just my thoughts running through my head. My mental list of what needs to be done that day. Tomorrow. Next week. I talk to God. I pray and often times my prayers a mesh of asking for forgiveness for that thought I had this morning, the angry word spoken to one of my children or a plea to help me be a better help mate to my husband.

Occasionally I listen to a Christian radio station, I go between music, a sermon or a theological discussion. Today was the discussion. Believe it or not, it was a discussion about the idols we place in our life. So when I finished reading 1John 5 it was surprising to read that last verse.  Probably wasn’t much of a surprise to God though.  He often uses common thread to make his point with me.

So I sit here writing my contribution to this blog with sound confidence that the theme of my post will be about the idols we put before God.

Whew…I felt the fire raging in me when listening to this panel of men discussing some of the things they considered idols.  However, I had the rest of the day to chew on their words and now my mental list has changed.  Changed because…my daily list was the idol. It came before God. I was shocked when this was revealed to me. God is so very clever.

I could burden you with my other revelations of what I put before God throughout each day, but by now you are probably making your own mental list of your idols. What also sends me to my knees are the things that one would never consider an idol.  Obvious idols are money, jobs, cars, clothes, social status.  But what about our kids? What about our spouse? What about our ministry?  Seriously?  a ministry can be an idol? If it comes before God…then yes.

Heavenly Father thank you for the reminders that you place in my day, that keep me focused on you.  You know me so well, you know my weaknesses.  Forgive me.  Help me to remember to begin every day with a “feet first” mentality. Not my feet…Your Son’s feet.  Begin my day at His feet, then leave my list at His feet.  Amen

Cindi

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Numbers 21; Psalms 60,61; Isaiah 10: 5-34; James 4

How many times do we turn to a close friend for help with our problems?  Ask advice, get feedback, seek wise counsel?  I bet that last one sounds real familiar doesn’t it?  Would we be wrong to go to a mentor or accountability partner for help with a problem?  I think not for we know that God wants us to encourage one another.  However, it’s when we look to man (friends, mentors, pastors) for answers to our problems without seeking God’s will first, that might keep us from seeing God’s victorious hand in our life.   Of course we should continue to seek wise counsel from those who will partner with us in prayer and petition, but not for victory in our battles. Only with God will we win against our enemies. I want victory.

Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. Psalm 60:11-12

What does humbling yourself before the Lord look like? Do we need special clothing, the right songs, how about the size of church we go to?  Is it the version of Bible we read that humbles us before the Lord?  The ministries we serve in or the statuses we post on our social media pages?

How about this vision; standing naked before the Lord, not physically, but spiritually.  Striped of pride, anger and judgment of others. Surrendering yourself unto Him, confession and repentance of sins….how often?  I think just getting in that position would be a good starting place, habits form with repetition. I want to be lifted up.

Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up. James 4:10

Confession: I spend too much time online and (this will hurt) I seek acceptance and accolades from people.

Revelation: It occurred to me today that the time I spend online could be spent serving others.  How did I go astray?

Goal: Push back from online activities outside of work and give that extra time to the Lord and His work.

Application: Less time online more time in the Word, more time at His feet.

Father, lead me into victory from things that seek to steal my time from you.  This world gives nothing but takes abundantly, but in order for the world to take I know that I am the one who allows this.  Grow  my desire to serve others in your name with joy and eagerness.  Deliver me from those who seek to hold me back from my daily walk and devotion with you.  Cleanse me, strip me of pride, remove my desire to seek approval from others.  Open the eyes of my heart to see others before myself.  In Jesus name. Amen

cindi

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